The Tortured Conscience of the Gray Lady

The Tortured Conscience of the Gray Lady June 7, 2013

As the Obama Administration continues to completely unspool with IRS abuses, spying on citizens, gross abuses of power, and intimidation of the press, the NY Times runs in circles like a horse with a twisted bowel, trying to figure out how to report these shattering betrayals while somehow salvaging The Vision and standing by their man.

Meanwhile, more honest lefty sites, like Mediaite, cover the ways in which the Times keeps erupting in frustration at both Obama and at the heroic Glenn Greenwald (who just broke the story of Obama spying on all Verizon customers)–and then backtracking and trying to soften their language so as not to make Obama look so bad and to hide their antipathy to that bloody meddler Greenwald:

First, here’s the change that Gawker flagged:

This evening, after a full day of news outletssharingthe Times editorial, and after the Guardian dropped yet another bombshellabout governmental spying, the website NewsDiffs (and others) are reporting that theTimes editorial board appears to have quietly crept into its now famous rebuke and, for reasons undeclared, updated the claim that the administration is no longer credible. The sentence now reads, “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue,” which is quite a different statement altogether. The paper also seems to have added sentences referencing the new Guardian article.

The current piece contains no mention of the changes.

What’s fascinating is that the paper also seems to have softened the headline of a June 7 article about Glenn Greenwald, who has been publishing the NSA leaks. The headline of an early draft of the article appears to have been “Anti-Surveillance Activist Is At Center Of New Leak,” which was apparently changed prior to publication. That early headline, however, is still visible in the article’s URL slug, which currently reads “anti-surveillance-activist-is-at-center-of-new-leak.”

There’s nothing nefarious about the fact that it was changed; often, online publishers will change a headline prior to publication, and forget to update the URL. But the contrast with the eventual headline appears to  demonstrate a caution similar to the one that prompted the change to the editorial. Instead of a headline that implies Greenwald has an ax to grind, and unsubtly suggests it might color his reporting, the piece is titled “Blogger, With Focus on Surveillance, Is at Center of a Debate.”

It’s hard to report the news when you are a Court Prophet.

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